We Need Diverse Ya Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

Customer Comments

lukas has commented on (628) products.

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion

lukas, July 2, 2015

"The death of Otis and the Bar-Kays dimmed their soul. The pillaging by Atlantic tore at their self-respect. The assassination of martin Luther Kind choked their heart. In a state of shock, Stax was a body getting cold." (1968)
Not as smooth as Motown, not as mammoth as Atlantic, not as blues-based as Chess, Memphis records label Stax nonetheless produced some of the most soulful and gritty black music of the 60s and 70s. This history traces the label from its humble roots to its stunning success to its sad decline and fall. Founded by two white siblings, Stax released albums by iconic artists like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, and Isaac Hayes. Like Muscle Shoals and Motown, it had more or less a house band (Booker & the M.G.s) and brought together some of the most creative singers, musicians, and songwriters. The first half is the most exhilarating and writer Robert Gordon also ties the music in with the racial tensions and civil rights movement of the period. Otis Redding and his band's plane crash was a tremendous blow, both personally and professionally, but the label regrouped and had success in the 70s with songwriter turned star Isaac Hayes and the Wattstax concert. The second half of the book deals more with the economic side of the label, which is mostly depressing, and Stax's ignominious end. Regardless, its legacy, both musical and cultural, is enormous and the book is a fine tribute to the label and the extraordinary artists who were part of the Stax family. Also check out "Soulsville U.S.A." and "Otis!"
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel by Edward Abbey
The Fool's Progress: An Honest Novel

lukas, June 30, 2015

“There’s a quality of enthusiasm in you, Mr. Lightcap, that suggests madness.”
I recently read "All the Wilderness that Remains," a book about Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner (Abbey was a writing student of Stegner's), and their vision of the American West, which led me to pick up this "honest" novel, the final book of his to be published before his death in 1989 (I'm excluding post-humus works). Abbey is one of American lit's great iconoclasts, whose greatest subject was, like Whitman, himself. He wrote both fiction and non-fiction and his most famous novel, "The Monkey Wrench Gang" is credited with kick starting the radical environmental group Earth First. Often compared to Thoreau, he was a hard living, hard drinking man of contradictions, who passionately loved the West, but wasn't always an easy person to love. Despite his liberal credentials, he was something of a womanizer, a gun enthusiast, and had occasional remarks that could be taken as racist or sexist. These contradictions are part of his appeal and this book, which, he called "a fat masterpiece," presents the Abbey-esque figure of Henry Lightcap and his picaresque adventures and mis-adventures. If you haven't read Abbey, I wouldn't start with this one. If you have, I'd suggest reading it outdoors with a cigar and a drink. It's frustrating and self-indulgent at times, but also passionate, funny, opinionated, and bursting with life.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



Selected Works of Miguel de Unamuno #4: The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations by Miguel De Unamuno
Selected Works of Miguel de Unamuno #4: The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations

lukas, June 28, 2015

“Philosophy responds to our need to form a complete and unitary concept of life and the world and, following on our conceptualization, the impulse which engenders an inner attitude or even action."
Miguel de Unamuno was a Spanish writer, professor, and thinker who was born in the Basque country. He died in 1934, just as the Spanish Civil War was heating up. "The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations" (fun title) can stand as his magnum opus and though it is philosophical in intent and scope, Unamuno is not a systematic thinker and draws from religion, philosophy, and literature, among other things. It's a tough, erudite read, even if you've taken some philosophy classes. The copious notes and the essays "Unamuno Re-read" and "Unamuno and the Contest with Death" help give some context. Lit majors may just want to skip to his fine essay on Don Quixote, who he sees as more than just a fictional character. Also see his "Three Exemplary Novels," a much quicker read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



The Galley Slave (Slovenian Literature) by Drago Jancar
The Galley Slave (Slovenian Literature)

lukas, June 27, 2015

"There was a great deal of evil. Darkness and flames and blood everywhere, with people always concealing evil intentions."
I'll start with everything I know about Slovenian literature. Um, well. . .yeah. Then I think I can say this is the best Slovenian novel I've ever read! I'll take the guy on the back of the book's word for it the Drago Jancar (awesome name( is "Slovenia's most accomplished prose writer." This is part of a series that translates Slovenian books into English, and, although written in the 70s, the translation is from 2011. Jancar's remarkable novel draws from picaresque novels, Brueghel paintings, and medieval plays to paint a frequently horrifying and phantasmagoric landscape that the hapless everyman character Johan Ot has to navigate. Although it was written well before the Balkan War of the 90s, it's hard not to read this violent,dark, and paranoid story in light of those awful events. A major discovery.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



The Galley Slave (Slovenian Literature) by Drago Jancar
The Galley Slave (Slovenian Literature)

lukas, June 27, 2015

"There was a great deal of evil. Darkness and flames and blood everywhere, with people always concealing evil intentions."
I'll start with everything I know about Slovenian literature. Um, well. . .yeah. Then I think I can say this is the best Slovenian novel I've ever read! I'll take the guy on the back of the book's word for it the Drago Jancar (awesome name( is "Slovenia's most accomplished prose writer." This is part of a series that translates Slovenian books into English, and, although written in the 70s, the translation is from 2011. Jancar's remarkable novel draws from picaresque novels, Brueghel paintings, and medieval plays to paint a frequently horrifying and phantasmagoric landscape that the hapless everyman character Johan Ot has to navigate. Although it was written well before the Balkan War of the 90s, it's hard not to read this violent,dark, and paranoid story in light of those awful events. A major discovery.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No



1-5 of 628next
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.